Department of Projects and Rural Engineering, Public University of Navarre, 31006, Pamplona, Spain, .
Science and engineering ethics. 03/2011; DOI: 10.1007/s11948-011-9258-2
The twenty-first century presents a major challenge for civil engineering. The magnitude and future importance of some of the problems perceived by society are directly related to the field of the civil engineer, implying an inescapable burden of responsibility for a group whose technical soundness, rational approach and efficiency is highly valued and respected by the citizen. However, the substantial changes in society and in the way it perceives the problems that it considers important call for a thorough review of our structures, both professional and educational; so that our profession, with its undeniable historical prestige, may modernize certain approaches and attitudes in order to continue to be a reliable instrument in the service of society, giving priority from an ethical standpoint to its actions in pursuit of "the public good". It possesses important tools to facilitate this work (new technologies, the development of communications, the transmission of scientific thought.···); but there is nevertheless a need for deep reflection on the very essence of civil engineering: what we want it to be in the future, and the ability and willingness to take the lead at a time when society needs disinterested messages, technically supported, reasonably presented and dispassionately transmitted.